Top News

ROBIN SHORT: There’s more to Atlantic Canada than Halifax

Back in 2010, when St. John’s played host to the 4 Nations Cup, the women’s hockey championship drew what was then a record week-long attendance for the event.

It isn’t hockey, I know, but the crowd for the Tim Hortons Brier held here in 2017 placed it in the top 20 on the all-time attendance list for the Canadian men's curling championship, even though Mile One Centre was one of the smallest venues to host the event in recent times.

Total attendance surpassed Briers held in Halifax, London, Ont., Kamloops, B.C. and Ottawa since 2010.

Getting back to hockey, for 20 years the American Hockey League was an overwhelming success in St. John’s.

Yes, teams moved, but those decisions were, rightly or wrongly, based on player development.

At the amateur level, national championships held in the city and surrounding area — from soccer to softball, baseball, rugby and ball hockey — have generally done quite well at the gate.

St. John’s, in other words, is a decent sports town.

That said, anyone who believes Halifax is not the capital of the Atlantic region is either confused or simply delusional.

Its track record on the sports front speaks for itself.

But St. John’s ain’t bad, either.

Which is why the city’s loss in its bid to stage the 2020 IIHF world women’s hockey championship hurts.

Halifax got the nod this week, marking the second time that city will host the world women’s tournament. It also has the Memorial Cup next spring, and that’s what really stings.

Two major hockey championships for Halifax within a 12-month span.

Hockey Canada will argue, I’ll bet, that it has nothing to do with the awarding of the Memorial Cup. That’s the Canadian Hockey League’s baby.

But the same fans and same corporate sponsors will sure be tapped for both championships.

Halifax and St. John’s had the same amount of government funding secured, which was in the $700,000 range. Sponsorship was not expected to be a problem.

So what was the problem?

Who knows.

Hockey Canada is well within its right to award events to whichever city it chooses. It just seems that after Halifax has already hosted one world women’s tournament, a world junior and a world men’s championship, not to mention a second Memorial Cup tournament that’s coming down the pipe, the movers and shakers within hockey’s governing body could have shared the wealth a little.

It’s not like St. John’s hasn’t proven we can’t handle such things.

Nobody asked me, but …

Word on the street is St. John’s will play host to the Canadian senior women’s fastpitch softball championship next summer. Newfoundland and Labrador sent a team to the senior women’s nationals last summer, the first time in eons … Alex Newhook has been on fire in the British Columbia Hockey League following a slow start. Entering last night’s game against the Trail Smoke Eaters, Newhook had 13 points in his last six games for the Victoria Grizzlies. He entered Friday’s play one point behind Ty Westgard of the Surrey Eagles for top spot in league scoring, with 11 goals and 30 points in 20 games. This is Newhook’s NHL draft year … It’s very evident no one wants to do business in senior hockey circles with the C.B.N. CeeBees and Mount Pearl … Here’s the deal: news reporters who cover the provincial legislature or City Hall or the courts are expected to be impartial. Why is it expected of sports reporters to be cheerleaders? Here’s the plain and simple truth: do something, and the praise will come … Great news for all you little Leaf fans out there with the NHL exhibition game next fall between Toronto and Ottawa. But you heard it here first: don’t expect Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau all to be in the Leafs’ lineup. Best you can hope for is any two of those four … Once upon a time, I knew the jersey numbers – let alone the lineup – of the 1970s Montreal Canadiens. I’d be challenged to name their six D today … Does everyone in baseball today throw high 90s? Whatever happened to pitchers like Greg Maddux who were, well, pitchers? … Hands up who share the opinion that Mixed Martial Arts or UFC or whatever it’s called these days is vulgar and downright repulsive? …

Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email robin.short@thetelegram.com Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort

Recent Stories